By now everyone has heard about buymusic.com, the Windows answer to Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Don’t be impressed; don’t be worried. According to a few reader notes from yesterday’s MacInTouch, buymusic.com is not all it’s cracked up to be:
Buymusic.com claims tracks cost “from $.79,” though I found most popular music to be either $.89 or $.99. The DRM is also complicated, varying from track to track. Some tracks can only be burned 1,3,5, or 10 times. Others can only be downloaded to an MP3 player a limited number of times. Some can be stored on 3 computers while others can only be stored on 1. (Ryan Greenberg)
Dominic Mazzoni writes:
BuyMusic isn’t nearly as price-competitive as the AP article would have you believe. First of all, their lowest song price is $0.79, not $0.70 as the article claimed. But if you browse their site, you’ll discover that the vast majority of songs are offered at $0.99–the same rate as the Apple store. I found a few songs available for $0.89, but in a few minutes of searching through a number of genres, I only found one song available for $0.79.
Not only that, but quite a few of their songs aren’t even available for purchase. That makes me wonder how their catalog size (which they claim is 300,000) actually compares to Apple’s if you only consider songs that you can actually purchase and burn to a CD.
Apple does need to get its act together with getting iTunes and the Music Store ready for Windows users. The iPod is already burning up the sales charts in Windoze-land, and Apple has a huge advantage over any music-selling competitor. Strike while the iron is hot, Steve.
UPDATE: 9:20 A.M. More from MacInTouch’s Thursday report, as Greg Orman shows that BuyMusic isn’t actually letting you buy music…
The fine print clearly states that you’re only licensing the music, not purchasing it, and furthermore that the license is tied to the computer used for the transaction. If you replace your computer, you lose access to everything you’ve licensed and downloaded (though you’ll still have any copies you burned to CD or transferred to a portable, assuming that the DRM on the songs you licensed allowed you to do that in the first place).
So there you go. The Apple iTunes Music Store remains the only place one can actually buy music for their own personal, pretty much unrestricted use, online.